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The liquid diet (due to my jaw, not for weight loss) has come to an end! Well, sort of, anyway. I don’t have to stick to liquids and mush anymore, although I’m still having smoothies most mornings for breakfast because, well, the more I rest it, the faster I’ll be back to 100%. I’ve gotten a retainer to wear at night — it makes me sound like Cindy Brady, which Jared finds hilarious, but it’s definitely doing the trick. I can handle being a little lispy in the moments before my head hits the pillow if it means I’m cleared to eat crusty bread again.

This whole smoothie thing has been a real revelation for me, though — I’ve learned to view a well-made blended beverage as a meal (or at least a snack) rather than, you know, just a drink, and that mental shift made sticking to liquids SO MUCH EASIER. When I make a smoothie with the mindset that this is my breakfast, or this is my pre-workout snack, it really fills me up. Amazing.

Anyway, it also shifted the way I think about other meals and snacks and such. For instance, dessert. While I’m not normally one to order a dessert out at a restaurant (unless, you know, it’s REALLY spectacular … or the person I’m with orders one first), I do like to have a little something sweet in the evening. But it doesn’t have to be huge or heavy or chocolate or anything. In fact, I’ve found that some of my favorite smoothies can be turned into a delicious dessert with just a couple of small modifications.

Let’s look at my absolute favorite, shall we? The Orange Pineapple Mango Berry. It’s a (delicious, delicious) mouthful, I know, but it’s sweet and tart and creamy and fruity and super refreshing.

As a breakfast smoothie, I would make it with half a cup or so of plain lowfat Greek yogurt, a half (or so) cup of orange juice, a few pieces of frozen pineapple, frozen mango, and whatever frozen berries I have on hand (strawberry is my favorite, but raspberries or mixed berries are also awesome).

Here’s where it gets a little surprising. I add a scoop of chia seeds (ch-ch-ch-chia!), a scoop of protein powder, and, most mornings, a hearty helping of spinach (either chopped and frozen or fresh baby spinach).

Now, let’s talk about how to make it a little more dessert-y.

Don't you wish your smoothie was this pretty?

Mostly, I take things out. I don’t add the protein powder — I assume that, by the time I’ve reached the dessert point of my day, I’ve gotten enough. I might add the chia seeds, but, I mean, I don’t exactly use those for flavor, you know? And by evening, I’ve normally gotten the necessary nutrition for the day.

Approximately 10 seconds later, I scarfed the whole thing down.

If I have orange sherbet, I may swap that out for the Greek yogurt. It tones down the tartness and gives it a slightly more dreamsicle-y flavor. Mmm, dreamsicle.

And then, I add the most important part. COOL WHIP Whipped Topping. Anyone who knows me well will not be surprised by this in the least. I’m not shy about adding that stuff to just about anything — I use it as frosting on cake, I dip cookies in it, I mix it into fruit salad (although I have to credit my mom with that one — COOL WHIP fruit salad was my favorite side as a child).

So, I toss a spoonful into the blender and blend it all up. And, generally, I add a dollop on top, too. A big dollop. You know, just to be safe.

If you’re really trying to be fancy, you could also top with some fresh, sliced strawberries. But if you’re anything like me, you’ll be in too much of a hurry to drink it up to bother with presentation!

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